What is the Capstone Research Requirement?

  • All majors write a capstone paper that provides the opportunity for a sustained and in-depth experience of independent, primary research that can be a "capstone" for their HSOC studies.
  • A capstone paper is a 20+ page original research paper.  

How to FulFill the Capstone Requirement 

  • By taking any 400-level HSOC or STSC course. These courses all focus on writing a 20+ page research paper as a course requirement.


  • By completing a 400-level independent study (HSOC 499)  that produces an independent research project of at least 20 pages and is approved by the HSOC Director or Associate Director, in addition to doing the amount of reading required at the 400-level. See the independent study page for additional details.

What you need to know about capstones:

  • The capstone requirement can only be fulfilled in one of the last three semesters before graduation, after the first half of junior year.
  • Only a 400-level HSOC (or STSC) course or independent study (HSOC 499) taken in the last three semesters before graduation fulfills the Capstone requirement. 
  • 400-level HSOC and STSC courses taken earlier may not be used as the capstone (though students may take as many 400-level HSOC or STSC courses in the department as they wish). 
  • You cannot double-count the Capstone course within the major as a core, department or concentration course. The Capstone Research Course requirement is a distinct part of the major, separate from other requirements, and the course cannot fulfill any other requirement for the major at the same time.
  • The Capstone project is not the same as a "senior thesis" - please see the Senior Thesis page to understand the difference between the capstone requirement and a senior honors thesis.  
  • HSOC 420 (taken in preparation for a senior thesis) fulfills the capstone requirement.